Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

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Title: Mr. Miracle
Author: Debie Macomber
Series: Angelic Intervention #10
Edition: Digital ARC, 272 pages
Publication Details: November 20th 2014 by Cornerstone
Genre(s): Romance; Christmas/Holiday
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review. Many thanks to Cornerstone.

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Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help Addie Folsom to get her life back on track – and help her find love.

Creating a happy ending for Addie and her neighbour Erich doesn’t seem like much of a challenge. But soon after arriving in the town of Tacoma, Harry realises he might need some guidance. Addie and Erich can’t stand each other; growing up he was popular and outgoing, while she was rebellious and headstrong. Addie would now rather avoid Erich entirely, especially at Christmas.

Harry is going to need all the help he can get, and a bit of divine inspiration, to help Addie and Erich find their Christmas miracle.

Review

I was well and truly into my festive reads when I started on Mr. Miracle, and after reading and loving Starry Night by the same author the year before, I was looking forward to this one immensely.

I wasn’t aware that this (and a lot) of Macomber’s books are about angels, which isn’t my favourite theme, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

Mr. Miracle introduces us to Harry, an angel who is sent to earth on his first ever assignment: Addie Folsom. Harry’s ‘cover’ is that he’s a teacher and his subject, Addie, has just returned home after a failed career start to finish school which she skipped out on a few years previous.

Of course, Addie is in need of some guidance – hence the angelic intervention of Harry. She’s a bit lost. Her father died recently, her career never took off like she thought it would, she’s been pretty unlucky in love, and so she finds herself with very little to show for herself. With a heavy heart, Addie has to swallow her pride and move home.

Addie knows that the first Christmas without her father is going to be hard on her and her mother, but she’s glad they will be together….however, her mum has a different idea entirely and has booked a cruise with her neighbour in order to avoid Christmas altogether.

There’s just one problem. The neighbour’s son who happens to be a childhood enemy of Addie’s has been in an accident and can’t fend for himself. Will Addie step in and care for her school-day’s foe? Will she change he mind about him?

I’m sad to say that I was quite disappointed in this book. The story was very simple and predictable, but a lot of books in this genre are and I still end up getting sucked into the romance and silliness of them, but this one just didn’t win me over.

Addie’s initial hatred for Erich just seemed to disappear in a poof of smoke, and I didn’t find it heart-warming or very festive at all.

Some of the characters were interesting, such as the motley crew in Addie’s class, but they didn’t get enough page-space.

Maybe it’s because I enjoyed my previous festive reads so much that this one paled in comparison; I’m afraid I found it all a bit contrived.

Better luck next time, I guess!

unicorn rating 2

Mr. Miracle and other Debbie Macomber books are available in paperback from Waterstones now.

A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale

ng4Title: A Christmas to Remember
Author: Jenny Hale
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 316 pages
Publication Details: October 10th 2014 by Bookouture
Genre(s): Romance; Christmas/Holiday
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review. Many thanks to Bookouture.

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Everyone loves Christmas – don’t they?

Carrie Blake loves her job as a nanny but, while her friends are settling down, all of Carrie’s spare time is spent with other people’s families. Though it breaks her heart, her New Year’s resolution is to embark on a new career and fix her love life.

As Carrie starts her last job, she’s sure she’ll be going out on a high – the house is amazing , the kids are adorable, and she’s in charge of decorating the tree!

The only problem could be her boss… single-dad Adam Fletcher might be both handsome and successful, but he’s always working. Doesn’t he realise he’s missing out on precious moments with his son and daughter?

As Adam’s family arrive for Christmas including his sensitive sister, Sharon, and his fun-loving elderly Grandpa, Walter, Carrie realises that she might just have found the perfect allies in her quest to persuade Adam to loosen up. There’s still time for Carrie to make this the best Christmas ever… after all, Christmas is the time for miracles, isn’t it? Let the festivities begin!

Review

A Christmas to Remember is a heart-warming, feel-good, festive read. It follows protagonist Carrie through what she hopes is her last job as Nanny, over the Christmas period.

These kind of chick-lit holiday books are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. You know exactly what you’re going to get – drama, romance and a warm and fuzzy ending – and this book didn’t disappoint. Plus, it had other aspects that I wasn’t expecting too.

Carrie loves her job but it’s meant that she’s had to make a lot of sacrifices in her personal life. When she’s on a job she is on call 24/7. She has little-to-no time for friends, her own family or outside commitments so she finds herself in her 30s with no friends to speak of, no man, or even past relationships. All she has is her work – other people’s children.

I found Carrie quite relateable, but man, she was way too neurotic for me! She’s all like wahhhhh I love my job, but wahhhhhhh I want my own family. And then there was all the ‘am I supposed to eat dinner with his family?’ and ‘he’s just being polite, he doesn’t like me blahblahblah. Arrrghhh. I wanted to scream in her face… and that’s not a bad thing! You should all know by now, that I love a book I have to scream at. I couldn’t put it down, and ended up devouring it in two sittings.

I also really liked that Adam, the work-a-holic whose life she enters (and takes over) owns his own brewery. I thought it gave a bit of a unique edge to the story as it wasn’t something I was expecting. Usually in this type of story the guys are all corporate business men with faceless/nameless companies, but here we realise that Adam’s journey has been a rags-to-riches one, and that he’s a self-made man through sheer determination and hard work. It definitely helped me to warm to him despite him being a rubbish father to begin with.

And y’know, he’s clearly pretty hot.

Overall, A Christmas to Remember was a fun, festive story that I couldn’t stop reading. What more can you ask for? Pass the mince pies!

unicorn rating 4

A Christmas to Remember is available in paperback from Waterstones now!

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

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Title: Burial Rites
Series: N/A
Author: Hannah Kent
Edition: Paperback, 355 pages
Published: February 27th 2014 by Picador
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Disclosure? Nope, it bought it!

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Northern Iceland, 1829. A woman condemned to death for murdering her lover. A family forced to take her in. A priest tasked with absolving her. But all is not as it seems, and time is running out: winter is coming, and with it the execution date. Only she can know the truth. This is Agnes’s story.

Burial Rites is one of those books in which not a lot happens, but you’re compelled to read regardless. Hannah Kent has written a beautiful novel, based on real events that took place in Iceland in the 1800s.

Agnes Magnúsdóttir is awaiting execution for playing a part in the murder of two men. We are not sure how or why she was involved, or if in fact she actually committed the crime, and the slow release of that information is where the tension, and intrigue comes from.

Agnes is sent to the isolated home of Jon Jonsson and family where she will await her execution date, much to the family’s dismay. But as they get to know Agnes, she begins to open up about the events leading up to her incarceration, and starts to become a part of all their lives. Everyone is affected by Agnes’ presence in different ways.

Burial Rites is a chilling read, and written a lot more simplistically than I was expecting, considering all of the literary awards it has been nominated for. In parts it reads like a Thriller or Family Saga rather than literary fiction, and that was a pleasant surprise for me.

I also thought that Kent captured the harsh environment of Iceland, and the hardiness of its inhabitants well. One of the main reasons I was so looking forward to this book was because I visited Iceland earlier in the year and totally fell in love with it. And while Burial Rites is set when Iceland was completely different to how it is today, I still saw a lot of similarities. What I loved about Iceland, I also loved in this book – the beauty in bleakness.

Agnes’ story reveals a whole other story of strength, faith, and survival. It is bleak, but not depressing, and definitely a story worth telling.

unicorn rating 4

Burial Rites is available now in hardback & paperback from Waterstones. See how you can get 10% off HERE.

February 2014 on Lipsyy Lost & Found

Woah February went quick ey? I didn’t get through as many books as I wanted to, but I went to Iceland, revamped my flat as I now have it all to myself, and my parents came to help/visit. So all in all, it’s been an excellent, if not busy one!

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Total Posts: 18 (Slacker!)

New WP Followers: 23

Books Read & Reviewed (2!):

  • Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman, 4/5 (Review)
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, 4/5 (Review)

Read but not yet reviewed:
I’m a bit behind but I’ll catch up, promise!

  • Zombies Vs Unicorns by Holly Black et al
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Friday Features:

  • Book Fun With Barbies (View Post)
  • 5 Reasons Why Vampire Show Moonlight was Ahead of its Time (View Post)

Guest Posts:

  • B. I Woolet – The inspiration behind their World of Arcas Series. (View Post)

Most Viewed Posts:

      1. WWW Wednesday 05/02/14 (View Post)
      2. Top Ten Tuesday: Books that will make you cry (View Post)
      3. Guest Post: B. I Woolet – The inspiration behind their World of Arcas Series. (View Post)

      ARCs/Giveaways:
      I received these Advanced Reader Copies via Netgalley.
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      *BOOK OF THE MONTH*

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      *COVER OF THE MONTH*

      It was so close between this and Cinder, they are both very pretty…but I love this simple cover; the colours are epic!

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      *MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH*

      I’m a bit YA’ed out at the moment so really looking forward this Thriller, out March 11th

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Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Debuts to get Excited About

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (Click the image to visit them).

This week the theme is: Top Ten 2014 Debuts I’m excited about

These are in no particular order. Click on the title to go to the Goodreads page.

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1. Half Bad (Half Life #1) by Sally Green

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

2. Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin [No Cover Yet]

The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this heart-pounding debut. Sixteen-year-old Sarah has a rare chance at a new life. Or so the doctors tell her. She’s been undergoing a cutting-edge procedure that will render her a tabula rasa—a blank slate. Memory by memory her troubled past is being taken away.

But when her final surgery is interrupted and a team of elite soldiers invades the isolated hospital under cover of a massive blizzard, her fresh start could be her end.

Navigating familiar halls that have become a dangerous maze with the help of a teen computer hacker who’s trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, Sarah starts to piece together who she is and why someone would want her erased. And she won’t be silenced again.

A high-stakes thriller featuring a non-stop race for survival and a smart heroine who will risk everything, Tabula Rasa is, in short, unforgettable.

3. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart. Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

4. Far from you by Tess Sharpe

Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice. The first time, she’s fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that’ll take years to kick.

The second time, she’s seventeen, and it’s no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina’s murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.

After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina’s brother won’t speak to her, her parents fear she’ll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina’s murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared.

5. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Darrow is a miner and a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he digs all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of the planet livable for future generations. Darrow has never seen the sky.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better future for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow and Reds like him are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow joins a resistance group in order to infiltrate the ruling class and destroy society from within. He will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

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6. Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah [No Cover]
I mainly want to read this because the title is so awesome!

After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she’s been dying to leave behind.

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her “delusions,” Claire can’t seem to escape the wolf’s eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she’s ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella’s trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister’s disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella’s past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found.

7. Camelot Burning by Kathryn Rose

By day, Vivienne is Guinevere’s lady-in-waiting. By night, she’s Merlin’s secret apprentice, indulging in the new mechanical arts and science of alchemy. It’s a preferred distraction from Camelot’s gossipy nobility, roguish knights, and Lancelot’s athletic new squire, Marcus, who will follow in all knights’ footsteps by taking a rather inconvenient vow of chastity.

8. Something Real by Heather Demetrios

There’s nothing real about reality TV. Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

9. Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis

When Sky falls from Blackfin Pier and drowns on her sixteenth birthday, the whole town goes into mourning – until she shows up three months later like nothing happened.

Unravelling the mystery of those missing months takes Sky to the burned-out circus in the woods, where whispers of murder and kidnapping begin to reveal the town’s secrets. But Sky’s not the only one digging up the past – the old mime from the circus knows what happened to her, and he has more than one reason for keeping quiet about it.

10. Vivian Divine is Dead by Lauren Sabel

In this fast-paced adventure set in Mexico, teen celebrity Vivian Divine goes on the run after receiving a death threat, and discovers that everything she thought she knew about her charmed life—and the boy she loves—is a lie.

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